UMCOR West Opens in Utah
By Melissa Hinnen*
June 3, 2009—United Methodists from throughout the Western Jurisdiction gathered on Saturday for the grand opening of UMCOR West office and depot. The new facility stores United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) supply kits and offers new opportunities for kit ministry.
“You are UMCOR,” Rev. Sam Dixon, head of UMCOR, told the nearly 150 people gathered to consecrate the new office and depot. He continued, “Can you imagine a child’s sheer joy upon receiving a school kit that you put together? With each birthing kit that you assemble and ship, I hope you will think about the woman whose life you may be saving.”
UMCOR relief supplies such as birthing kits that contain essential hygienic provisions for women who are in labor, and school kits that give children the material they need for their studies, sustain everyday life by providing basic necessities to people who lack ready access to essential supplies.
Bishop Elaine Stanovsky led the consecration of the building praying, “Bless us and sanctify what we do here, that this place may be holy for us and a place of healing for the world.”
Opportunities for Service and Mission
Volunteer groups are invited to spend a week in Salt Lake City to serve at UMCOR West. According to Rev. Brian Diggs who directs the depot, each mission experience will include kit ministry to benefit vulnerable people around the world, in addition to volunteer work in the local community. UMCOR West works closely with Crossroads Urban Center, a United Methodist national mission institute in Salt Lake City, to provide meaningful service experiences.
The response to UMCOR West throughout the Western Jurisdiction has been tremendous. Groups are booked to volunteer nearly every week this summer. Many are youth groups from other states. Nearby Christ UMC and Hilltop UMC are generously hosting groups who come from out of town. Both churches have sleeping accommodations, showers and kitchens.
Utah United Methodists Excited about Depot
United Methodists in Utah feel blessed that UMCOR has recognized their passion for justice by opening the depot in Salt Lake City. For months, local groups have been painting, cleaning and organizing to prepare for UMCOR West’s opening.
A planning committee of members of the local United Methodist Churches had been organizing the grand opening celebration since January. Ribbons and balloons adorned the flood buckets and boxes of supplies in the 22,000 square feet warehouse. A local Christian band entertained guests and volunteers served a barbeque style lunch. The celebration included a Q&A, a tour the facility and a showcase of sample relief supply kits.
How to Help
Donating kit supplies or financial gifts to purchase the supplies, makes a direct, tangible difference in sustaining people's lives. Types of kits include: health, sewing, school, layette, bedding and cleaning buckets in addition to the new birthing kit. Detailed information about assembling kits can be found here.
To volunteer or donate supply kits, please contact: UMCOR West Office and Depot, Reverend Brian Diggs, Director, 1479 South 700 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84104-1605 Phone: 801-973-7250, Fax: 801-973-7916, Email: WestDepot@UMCOR.org
*Melissa Hinnen is the staff writer for UMCOR communications